How to Change the Windows 7 Desktop Background

October 29, 2010, By Christian Cawley

If you’ve come to Windows 7 from Windows XP (or even if this is your first Windows PC or laptop) you may not be aware of how to access the various desktop display options, such as how to change the desktop background.

You might also wish to change your screen resolution, add widgets or manage your screensaver – basically there is a wealth of display configuration options for Windows 7, enabling you to get your desktop looking just how you want it!

However, this does come with one caveat; these options come at a cost, and that cost is good quality graphics. If your Windows 7 PC or laptop is suitably equipped then you will be able to get the most out of this tutorial. Unfortunately, lower spec machines will not be able to take full advantage of the Windows Aero user interface, the very thing that makes Windows 7 so visually attractive.

Let’s move on, and assume that you have a medium to high spec Windows 7 device.

How to Change Desktop Background on Windows 7

There is more to changing the desktop background on Windows 7 than just selecting a favourite image and selecting it as your new backdrop (although this is an option).

Windows 7 comes with several alternate backgrounds included, which can be displayed as a slideshow, and you can even select your own library of images to play as a slideshow.

Get started with these options by finding a blank area on your Windows desktop and right-clicking, and selecting Personalize from the context menu. Here you have the option of choosing desktop themes from those available via the Get more themes online link. Scroll through the Aero Themes list to find one that you like and click it to select and activate – your desktop theme will change straightaway, although if you don’t like the new option, you will be able to undo this and revert to the default Windows 7 them by selecting that.

More Desktop Background Options in Windows 7

You can also select the Desktop Background option to select a single image or multiple images to create a slideshow.

With this option, you can also select from your own images – use the Browse button at the top of the window to find and add folders with your favourite images in, and tick or clear the check boxes to include or ignore the pictures!

There is however another way of setting an image as a desktop background in Windows 7. If you’re just looking for a single, static image with which to decorate your desktop, browse for an image that you like, either online or on your PC (if you are looking for the image online, make sure you open it in its full resolution first – don’t use a thumbnail!)

When you have found the image of choice, right-click it and from the context menu select Set as desktop background.

If the image is stretched out of proportion or looks grainy, you can repeat the action with a larger image, or use the Picture position options to choose between Fill, Fit, Stretch, Tile, or Center – these options are on the Desktop Background screen.

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